The magic of Succession lies in its writing and its casting. There’s a reason why the HBO series has become one of the biggest dramas and also won deserving accolades year after year. Created by Jesse Armstrong, the show revolving around the Logan family, the show has several delectable characters and among them is also Matthew Macfadyen‘s Tom Wambsgans. The actor who previously played Mr. Darcy to Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice is far from a romantic lead in this one.
While every character of Succession seems twisted, the thing about Tom Wambsgans is that he may be one gathering the most polarising views. There is no one way to look at Wambsgans and hence there are moments when you feel utter pity for him and there are those when he invokes sheer disgust. The beauty of Macfadyen’s act is such that you are drawn to the character no matter what. Matthew plays Tom with such surety that it feels difficult to separate him from the character even though he is not even remotely like Wambsgans. As the actor turns 48, we take a look at his best moments on the show so far.
Tom’s ‘bottle throwing’ outburst on Greg
If there’s one thing that every episode of Succession is incomplete without, it’s the odd exchanges between Macfadyen’s Tom Wambsgans and Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun). One of the most memorable scenes between the duo and also the one that showcased Matthew truly pushing himself to deliver a memorable scene is the one where Tom loses his cool and throws water bottles at Greg after hearing the latter’s suggestion about being in a “open business relationship.” It’s as if his wife Shiv Roy’s (Sarah Snook) words about an open marriage come haunting at him in a professional setup that Tom hastily reacts to Greg’s proposal of moving to another department. All this happens during a tense time when they are locked up in a room following the threat of an active shooter being inside the building.
Tom’s bachelor party sequence
In season one episode eight, ahead of his wedding to Shiv (Snook), Tom plans a bachelor party which gets taken over by Shiv’s brother Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) who takes his to-brother-in-law Tom along with Greg (Braun) and their other friends to an elite rave. Name a fetish that won’t come true at this party but for Wambsgans who enters the wild arena dressed in a suit, it’s too exciting an adventure to take on. Not to mention Tom does love Shiv and isn’t into the idea of cheating on her even though she may feel otherwise. If you are already not feeling pity towards Macfadyen’s Tom trying to act crazy while hating every second of it, it’s his declaration that, he “swallowed his own load” that makes it even worse. Matthew is a true revelation in this episode.
Boar on the floor
If there’s one scene that describes what Succession is it is this one. Waystar Royco’s head, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) stages a sadistic game to hunt down the source of a leak at his company during a dinner scene. He picks his targets which include Greg, Tom, and a fellow executive named Karl who are subjected to a humiliating test in which they are instructed to act like pigs and fight over a piece of sausage. From making them “oink” to fighting over sausages thrown at them on the floor, the entire sequence is difficult to watch. Despite being aware that Greg is the leak that Logan has been looking for, Tom maintains his silence and fights for a piece of sausage. It’s yet another scene where Macfadyen showcases his talent.
Tom’s Congress hearing
In the second season, Tom is put before Congress in order to testify about the Waystar Royco cruise scandal. Macfadyen who is an English actor also revealed to Vanity Fair how he prepared for the crucial scene by watching a lot of CNN and MSNBC and also the iconic C-SPAN moments of Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee about Donald Trump. As for his own scene in the show, Macfadyen absolutely nails it as the Roys place him in the centre of the controversy where is asked to defend Uncle Mo whose actual name is Lester but he is popularly known as Mo -Lester. The scene showcases Matthew at his absolute best as he conveys Tom’s nervousness, discomfort, and stammering with immense genuinity. There’s also a memorable line in the scene when Tom’s poor show in front of the Congress leads a Waystar employee to ask Shiv, “What’s it like to have a husband with two a*******s?”
These are only some of the handpicked moments when Macfadyen truly outshined everyone but otherwise, all through the three seasons, the actor’s commitment to his role and his ability to surprise everyone with Wambsgans moves has been admirable. One of the biggest twists for Matthew’s characters happened to be at the end of Season 3. It’s the biggest betrayal of all as he tells Logan about his children’s plan to use their supermajority vote to block the sale of Waystar. It’s also the moment that will change Wambsgans’ character arc significantly in the next season.
ALSO READ: Succession Season 3 Review: It’s family vs business for the Roys and there’s no win-win here